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Comment Re:congratulations! (Score 1) 25

Yes. Because it's not a simulacrum, it's a greatly simplified model. That it works at all suggests you've discovered at least a few of the important principles that let the vastly more complicated original work.

Also, you can poke at the model, see what improves it, what breaks it, plot receptive fields, all those things that are messy, difficult or unappreciated in an actual brain.

Comment Re:But they're not white, so it's OK (Score 1) 225

I'm not a Christian, but Paul was not Jesus, and didn't even live at the same time. Just because some other people took Paul's writings, shoved them into a book together with 4 other guy's books who wrote down orally-passed-down stories about some guy named Jesus, and called it "the Holy Bible" does not mean that Jesus endorsed this Paul guy who lived decades later.

Now, I'll agree that everything in the Bible is part and parcel of "Christianity", because modern Christians believe it so, but the OP never said anything about Christians, he specifically opined about what *Jesus* would think, not what Paul or any other Christian, ancient or modern, would think.

Comment Re: But they're not white, so it's OK (Score 1) 225

You're a complete idiot.

ISIS holds territory, and defends it militarily. They collect taxes, and they provide services to the populations under their control. They have a government, they pass laws, and they enforce those laws with police. They are a state in every sense of the term. You don't have to be recognized by other nations to be a valid state, you just have to be able to hold and defend your territory and have a government, which they do.

Comment Re:But they're not white, so it's OK (Score 2) 225

And Americans are awfully quiet when christian politicians harass transsexuals with...

Oh bullshit. Anyone who isn't a Christian decries this crap all the time. And then, in response, the Christian conservatives all bitch and complain about how Christians are being "persecuted" for wanting to "exercise their freedom of religion". It's even an issue on the GOP side with the Presidential election.

Did you somehow sleep through the media flap when that fat, ugly woman in Kentucky on her 4th marriage refused to sign marriage licenses for homosexuals?

Muslim extremists, Christian extremists - they're just two sides of the same coin. Fortunately, the majority in both camps don't go along with this crap

That's incorrect. Pew research has conducted polls showing that majorities of regular, everyday Muslims believe in policies like those.

The thing we have going for us here in "Christian countries" (the West) is that 1) much of Christianity has gotten away from the Medieval, violent stuff thanks to the Enlightenment (unfortunately, it seems that parts of America are slow to catch up; all the craziest and most extreme Christians are here in the US), and 2) the native-born occupants of Western nations are (thankfully) becoming less and less religious, and more secular. However, the same is not true in Islamic countries: everyone there is Islamic, there is no growing agnostic or atheist movement, and Islam never went through the Enlightenment.

Comment Re:Gnome... (Score 1) 46

I've tried newer versions of it. It still sucks. It's completely minimalistic, there's barely any configuration settings, and it's buggy as hell. I hate it. The only reason I use it at all is because that's what my work machine comes with, and there's no easy way to install KDE (it's CentOS7).

Honestly, I feel like Gnome is just like Windows Metro: a UI that I hate that people are trying to force on me. On the Windows side, it's MS trying to force their shitty UI on me through their market dominance and the fact that it's pretty hard to get any kind of job that doesn't require you to use Windows in some fashion (even if it's just email and Office). On the Linux side, it's a cabal of distro makers that have all, for some weird unknown reason, decided to push Gnome as the "preferred" UI. For Red Hat, it makes sense because it's their ugly baby (though again, it only makes some sense because it's a shitty UI and doesn't help adoption, esp. in the corporate/government sector that they work in), but this doesn't explain why everyone else including Debian loves it so much. At least Ubuntu tried to do something different, but it's no better.

Comment Re: Militant Slashdot (Score 1) 295

Actually baseball bats are more commonly used in assaults than rifles.

Most firearms homicides are with pistols of some sort, not rifles or shotguns.

Further, most firearms deaths are suicides.:

Further, homicides are a poor indicator of how many crimes are committed with different weapons:

Comment Re:Uh... let me think about it (Score 1) 509

Not me. It'll claim that the windy little country road is faster, but it's definitely not. I guess they never thought that, on a single-lane little windy road, you might get stuck behind some slow-ass, whereas on a two-lane road you can pass them. Most nav systems I've heard of will prioritize larger streets over tiny residential roads for this very reason (and because the speed limit is lower on them of course).

For this particular route, if you look at it on a map, the windy country road definitely looks shorter (hypotenuse of a triangle, sorta), but it's not shorter to drive on, and a lot more aggravating.


Indonesia Moves To Ban Same-Sex Emojis On Messaging Apps ( 225

An anonymous reader writes: The Indonesian government has this week demanded that instant messaging apps available in the country remove all same-sex emoticons from their platforms, or face heavy sanctions. While homosexuality is not illegal in the country, it remains a controversial issue in the Muslim-dominated country. Now in the latest effort to crackdown on gay rights, Indonesian authorities want to ban emojis, stickers and emoticons which depict same-sex couples, the rainbow flag, and any symbol that symbolises the lesbian, bay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community. Apps that have been targeted by the demands include the popular Asian messaging app LINE, Whatsapp, Facebook and Twitter. The Indonesian Communication and Information Ministry added that a particular concern was that children would find the bright coloured stickers appealing.

Comment Re:Why not overseas .... (Score 1) 150

Depends on what you mean by "typical salaries in ... China". In some parts of China, minimum wage is only $1.23 per hour, which translates to $49.20 per week, or $2558.40 per year. There is nowhere in the U.S where you can live on $49.20 per week without being homeless. Even if you own your own house, if isn't possible. After all, it would take most of that $49 per week to pay for food alone. Add in insurance for your home (required by law, generally), and you're way, way over. And you'd still be doing without modern conveniences like water and electricity, which would result in the social services folks evicting you from your house pretty quickly.

Comment Re:Hammerheads in Vermont (Score 1) 558

The Bay area is one of the most expensive places in the world though. There are plenty of areas in this country where $15/hour suddenly gives you close to a median income.

Ah, but the reason that the Bay Area is so expensive is that there's such a shortage of land to build housing. In places where the median income is much lower, yes you'll increase demand for housing, but the market will absorb it easily, because there's no shortage of land.

For example, Nashville has a median per-capita income of about $29k. That's just slightly under $15/hour, in theory, ignoring the impact of children on the per-capita numbers. Housing in Nashville is relatively cheap (compared to the Bay Area) at $1053/month.

What would happen if Nashville raised its minimum wage to $15/hr.? Well, a lot of people would have more money to spend. Some percentage of them would spend some percentage of that money on better housing.

Now most people in Nashville aren't having to do apartment sharing eight ways just to make ends meet. The exceptions are mostly college students and new renters, who are just a tiny percentage of the market (unlike in the Bay Area with its staggering rents). So the number of new housing units required would be a fairly small percentage of the market.

The bigger impact would be from people moving up to higher grades of housing or larger apartments with more rooms. In theory, this would drive the price of higher-end housing up. But what happens to all the low-rent housing? Suddenly, you have landlords who can't rent their rooms. So they will spend money to bring their apartments up to higher standards so that they can charge higher fees and bring in people who have more money. They break even, the price of the absolute cheapest housing goes up, and the quality of the housing goes up to match. More importantly, the number of housing units at that higher class goes up, balancing out the increase in demand, so the price for that class of housing actually remains about the same.

So it would have an impact, just not a very big one, and mostly at or near the very bottom of the housing market cost-wise.

Yeah but I don't think you can assume that if you're artificially raising salaries. With respect to education, this raise will affect many people who are already done with education, as well as people who simply aren't capable of finishing high school or going to college.

Yes, which means that there could be some short-term impact, but over the longer term, the trend should reverse, at least in theory.

But even if we assume artificially raising salaries will lead to the same results, it becomes question of whether more people will be bumped from the very poorest into a lower birthrate bucket, or from the $20k range into the $30k range which would result in an increase.

That's a very good question, and I suspect that the answer is "Nobody knows for sure." :-)

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